tv The Last Word MSNBC January 14, 2013 10:00pm-11:00pm PST
today. lots of moving parts and some important not moving parts in today's news. but here is the state of play as of today. tom villsack, the member of the cabinet most likely to be mistaken for a wrestler, will stay on as secretary of agriculture. we mentioned it today, and as we mentioned earlier, janet napolitano will stay on. and the environmental protection agency administrator, lisa jackson, and the labor secretary, hilda solis will be leaving, but we don't know who will replace them. so this is the second announcement for the cabinet, the president's term starts after he is sworn in. when he was asked if there was enough diversity, he said people should stop rushing to judgment, he is not even done appointing people yet, which is true, which is exciting, especially if you
have strong feelings about the secretary of agriculture, and you can name who he is off the top of your head, some like nfl the republicans are still arguing with each other about what to put in their ransom note about what to say to president obama on the debt ceiling. the president tells them if they ever agree on what to put in the ranson note, he wouldn't even read it. >> president obama used the final press conference of the first time. >> the last press conference in the first term. >> to draw the line on the debt compromises. >> raising the ceiling doesn't authorize more spending.
>> the president clearly came out putting it on the republicans. >> republicans in congress have two choices here, they can act responsibly. >> this is such a recipe for disaster for the republican party. >> or they can act irresponsibly, they better choose quickly. >> frankly all republicans have to bargain with. >> yes, they are, yes, they are. >> they're holding us hostage. >> are we heading to a shutdown. >> this could be a financial disaster. not only for our country, but for the world. >> social security checks and veteran's benefits will be delayed. >> i don't think it is a question that is even on the table. >> ironically would probably increase our deficit. it is absurd. >> the president won't back down on the debt ceiling or on gun safety. >> the pressing issue of gun reform. >> exactly one month after the tragedy at sandy hook. >> if there is a step we can
take that will save even one child we should take that step. >> gun violence continues to wreak its deadly toll each day. >> this is a moment to act. >> congress is incapable of passing an assault weapon ban. >> everybody is totally upset by it. >> what makes sense? what works? >> this is a moment to act. >> this is a promise to turn the conversation into actions. >> if there is a step we can take that will save even one child, we should take that step. >> the lecturer in chief returns to the east room of the white house today to explain something to congressional republicans that previous presidents have not had to explain to congress. >> i want to be clear about this. the debt ceiling is not a question of authorizing more spending. raising the debt ceiling does not authorize more spending. it simply allows the country to
pay for spending that congress has already committed to. these are bills that have already been racked up. and we need to pay them. so while i'm willing to compromise and find common ground over how to reduce our deficits, america cannot afford another debate with this congress about whether or not they should pay the bills they have already racked up. but to even entertain the idea of this happening, of the united states of america not paying its bills is irresponsible. it is absurd. the full faith and credit of the united states of america is not a bargaining chip. and they had better choose quickly because time is running short. >> house republicans continued to threaten to use the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip. house republican conference chairwoman kathy rogers told "political" i think it is possible we would shut down the
government to make sure that president obama understands that we're serious. well, i guess that would do it. we always talk about whether or not we're going to kick the can down the road. i think the mood is that we have come to the end of the road. what road? and republican congresswoman marsha blackburn of tennessee said this to msnbc's chris jansing. let me ask you if you're willing to shut the government down? >> we're looking at all the options, there is the option of government shutdown, the option of raising the debt ceiling in short-term increments. i think there is a way to avoid default if it requires shutting down portions of the government. let's look at that. >> and in his press conference, president obama quoted speaker john boehner from 2011. >> that would be a financial disaster, not only for our country but for the worldwide
economy. i don't think it is a question that is even on the table. >> and the last question of his press conference, the president was asked if he may be more successful with some of the nuts you just heard from if he spent more quality time with them. >> you and your staff are too insular, that you don't socialize enough. >> this, of course, is one of the great myths of governing, that intractable problems, political problems, can somehow be solved over a card game and a couple of drinks. that has never, ever been the case nor will it ever be the case. >> i like speaker boehner personally. and you know, when we went out and played golf we had a great time. but that didn't get a deal done in 2011. >> the president actually had to remind the media that congressional behavior is the result of democracy. >> now if the american people
feel strongly about these issues and they push hard and they reward, or don't reward members of congress with their votes, if -- you know if -- if they reject sort of uncompromising positions or sharp partisanship or always looking out for the next election and they reward folks who are trying to find common ground then i think you will see behavior in congress change. and that will be true whether i'm the life of the party or the stick my the mud. >> the life of the party, krystal, nothing drives me crazier than this myth, than geez if you would just sit down with the guys -- >> it is the tone and the lack of civility, you know that, right? >> you know, i saw guys who were great friends, real friends vote against each other in a second. it doesn't solve the problem. >> sure, sure, i mean the real dynamic here is the political
calculus that is underlying all of this, for house republicans it makes all the political electoral sense in the world for them to be totally unreasonable and go as far right as they possibly can, because they're not worried about a general election or worried about the center of the country. they're worried about the right flank, thanks to newt gingrich who started it all off, the growth of the tea party, making sure that the republican party is totally pure and that primaries are frequent. >> one thing to watch with the president is just how cool he is in handling the questions. and she is a great reporter, i'm not knocking her. but there is so much naivete that he treats as legitimately present. the white house events, declined by john boehner and mitch mcconnell. john boehner declined the invitations to six state dinners
that people in washington are dying to go to one state dinner. really, senior house and senate members have never been to a state dinner, and the list goes on and on. >> i think if we could stipulate a number of things, one is this entire debate is basically based in lunacy. >> yeah, we can stipulate. >> start with that, and second it also represents a dangerous and dramatic change of the behavioral norms, the use of the dynamics -- >> remember, no one knew what it was? >> the good old days. >> that used to get raised routinely, and it tended to be a partisan vote, meaning the party that was not in power would vote against it. >> you made a point -- now they threaten default. and of course, the -- while we're having all of this, unemployment is still -- still an intractable problem that is not being addressed. so if you can stipulate all of
that, i see for all of this lunacy, there is slight progress, you saw it in -- >> wait, i just heard them, they sounded nutty. >> again, stipulating it is all lunacy, what i'm about to say is not all that dramatic or hopeful, but it is something? they're talking about the government shutdown in the continuing resolution. i'm hearing them talk about making the stand and the continuing resolution, rather than the debt stand. so if they make their stand on the debt ceiling default and they mean it, that is catastrophe, that affects overnight. if they can move away from making that their stand and the continuing resolution, then the result is a government shutdown, not a catastrophe. so i think there is this weird pressure campaign from boehner and all the business community allies he can get to try to get
the crazies in the republican party to think of the continuing resolution as their waterloo right now, not so much the debt ceiling. >> and the continuing resolution is the way we continually fund government through the budget process. and we have had government shutdowns over that kind of thing before, which is just this re-authorization thing that tends to take a few days and then they do it. so we've seen it before. >> and i agree with steve on that, he has the audacity to disagree with me somewhat. i actually think the republicans looked at the fiscal cliff, they passed the senate bill, said it is up to you. they basically blinked and said we don't want to go over the
cliff. so they know they don't really have it will them to want to default on the debt ceiling. the landscape is different from 2011, yes, they're still nutty and responding to that calculus. i don't think they're quite as credible in terms of actually causing a default. and take what? social security and medicare benefit cuts, that is tremendously unpopular, it would be a disaster. but also a catastrophe for the republican party. >> and this comes at a moment where they're being criticized from kind of all sides. i want to listen to something colin powell said yesterday about their identity problem. >> i think the republican party right now is having an identity problem. and i am still a republican. i think what the republican party needs to do right now, take a hard look at itself. the country is changing
demographically, and if they don't change with the demographics, they will be in trouble. >> steve with this atmosphere, and joe scarbro, he is offering relentlessness in the republican party, this is not the time to show hey, we know where to go on the debt ceiling and america is with us. america is not with us. >> america is not with them, but the america that elected the house republicans is with them. because that is different than the demographically different numbers that allowed democrats to get a 55% majority in the senate. the coalition that reelected obama is packed in tightly in the metropolitan areas across the country. and it opened the huge swaths across the country, that locked in a republican house probably for the next decade. and the demographic changes that are driving politics nationally,
they're not happening. you're not seeing them in these districts. so sure, what will work in the districts for the average republican congress is totally destructive, one of the reasons why obama was able to win by 5 million votes. >> and krystal, that gerrymandering that produced them. as a total, they get more votes than the republicans who end up getting majority control of building. >> that is right, i think the democrats would have to win that popular vote by 7 points to get control of the house. i disagree a little bit, though, because i think at one point what the congressional republicans are doing does have a spill-over effect. they are not so immune. eventually people will get tired of the debt ceiling crisis hostage. and it will be more clear who holds the positions and is totally willing to not work with
the other side, and actually govern. >> guess who i have tonight? i have corey booker, you're our senior new jersey -- our senior new jersey political analyst. what is the one question i should ask corey booker tonight? >> why should you be senator and not frank lautenberg? >> i'm going to ask him that question coming up. and you guys do a show called "the cycle." and people should watch it. a whole gang of you do that show. okay, so that is a thank you to krystal ball and steve kornacki, and coming up. if house republicans really do something crazy with the debt ceiling, will they do that? ezra klein answers that question next. and on the one-month anniversary of the sandy hook elementary school shootings, the nra has released a video. the same group that blamed the violent video games for the massacre in newtown.
and scott brown's political future, more observers saying he won't run for senate. and as i said, corey booker, who has announced his intention to run for senator in new jersey. the problem is he may have to run against fellow democrat and current senator franken lautenberg, as far as we can tell, they agree on just about everything. corey booker will answer steve kornacki's questions and will get tonight's last word. this is $100,000. we asked total strangers to watch it for us. thank you so much. i appreciate it. i'll be right back. they didn't take a dime. how much in fees does your bank take to watch your money?
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he wants to run for. he wants to respect that senator, he hopes that that senator, who happens to be 88 years old, will announce his retirement. that has not happened yet. so how does cory booker run and not run at the same time? i'll ask him. he will be on the last word. and john kerry, when he is confirmed for secretary of state. scott brown will not run for that seat. you heard it last week, more people are saying that. scott brown's possible re-writing of his political future is in tonight's "rewrite." on thursday, house republicans will convene in ♪
on thursday, house republicans will convene in virginia for their annual retreat, where there will be no talk of retreat, but where john boehner will explain the debt ceiling and get his caucus to understand, where it will be economic suicide to go all in and default. at his news conference, president obama explained the debt limit to the american public and the political media this way. >> congress authorizes spending. they order me to spend. they tell me you need to fund our defense department, at such and such a level. you need to send out social security checks. you need to make sure that you are paying to care for our veterans. they lay all of this out for me. and because they have the spending power.
and so i am required by law to go ahead and pay these bills. separately, they also have to authorize the raising of the debt ceiling in order to make sure that those bills are paid. and so what congress can't do is tell me to spend x, and then say but we're not going to give you the authority to go ahead and pay the bills. >> the economist made a laundry list of what would happen if congressional republicans refused to raise the debt limit. failure to raise the debt ceiling would force immediate spending cuts equal for 6% of gdp. not only would that threaten to send the economy back into recession, it would also deprive many of money needed to meet their own obligations, setting off a chain reaction of defaults that could incite investors to dump their holdings, driving up interest rates.
joining me now is ezra klein, an msnbc columnist, who could add more. ezra, for the 99th episode of what happens if we don't raise the debt ceiling. give us the idea of what the latest talk in washington is of what may or may not happen. >> we got a call from the head economist for j.p. morgan, and we asked about treasury debts. what if it was not as secure as we thought. it would be like the painting of hell. people need to think about that. when you try to understand what is going to happen, if the white house is able to follow through on not negotiating on the debt ceiling, which i think they actually will be able to do. the president is backing himself into a corner, where he said so many times he wouldn't be held hostage, if he did, it would undermine his credibility. he sod he would negotiate,
because it would essentially troy him in office. when it -- when it becomes clear to republicans, on the obligations to social security, pensioners to folks who need the defense department payments, they're going to see the financial sector, the economic sector, every defense contractor, the arp, every interest group and not just interest groups but pretty much every business interest group coming forward and saying you can't possibly do this. these folks just a couple of weeks ago said they couldn't bear to go over the fiscal cliff, which you like to call it the curb. and many thought president obama wanted to go over in order to raise taxes. to do the same thing over the debt ceiling and get full blame for it, it could genuinely destroy the republican party, of course while destroying the economy. >> there is that little problem,
for republicans. so what about this point, ezra, that the president, the federal government could easily meet its obligations on actual debt payments through bonds and that sort of thing. but it would be the spending, the discretionary spending that they would have to cut under these circumstances. so there wouldn't ever be, many republicans insist they wouldn't ever be a realistic prospect of default in this. and that is why the president uses the word "obligations," instead of the word debt because they may just agree with them that there wouldn't actually be a debt default. >> it is unclear, we literally don't know what would happen because it never happened before. so a legal authority is not all obvious. so there is a question, for the treasury department, to decide if we pay off the bond holders,
but not our medicare bills. we're going to pay back the banks, but not china, or social security checks. that being a legal question. the political optics of republicans forcing the country into paying japan before china, is dubious. the second question is if the computer systems can do that. obviously, we computerize the checks going out, we're sending about 100 million of them -- march, 100 million. so we don't know if we can re-program the computer systems quickly enough in order to begin choosing between some payments and not others. >> ezra, it is not clear -- people sometimes take evasion. there is no perfect phrase for what is going on here, especially in a situation where it has never happened before. >> and the financial markets don't like "it is not clear". >> that is right, and we're all
kind of guessing what it means, ezra klein, thank you for joining us. coming up, the latest news in the massachusetts senate race that will occur after john kerry is confirmed as secretary of state. will scott brown actually run for that senate seat? i for one have my doubts. and i'll tell you why. but another senate seat looks like it really does have a candidate, cory booker has made it very cheer he intends to run for senator in new jersey. and he will get tonight's last word. ♪ [ construction sounds ] ♪ [ watch ticking ] [ engine revs ]
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a new poll shows a majority of americans are now in favor of banning assault weapons. vice president joe biden has submitted his recommendations to president obama, that is next in the spotlight. and later, two senate races, will scott brown really run in massachusetts against ed markey. and will cory booker run for senate in new jersey? cory booker gets tonight's last word.
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beside me for early morning cuddles before we get ready for school. >> i'm ana's mom, on friday, i put two children on the bus and only one came home. i pray that no father, mother, or grandparent ever have to go through this pain. >> those are two of the mothers who lost their children at sandy hook elementary school. the mothers, along with other victims' families unveiled sandy hook promise. a group that plans to turn their dialogue into gun safety at schools, and gun ammunition control, 30 days after the massacre in newtown. today, vice president joe biden gave president obama his recommendations one day early on the task force. in a meeting with the house democrats, joe biden said he has identified 19 executive actions the president can take on gun control. president obama said he will release the details of those
recommendations later this week. here is what the president had to say about gun control today. >> well, what you can count on is things i have said in the past, the belief that we have to have stronger background checks. that we can do a much better job in terms of keeping these magazine clips with high capacity out of the hands of folks who should not have them. and assault weapons, the ban is meaningful. those are things i continue to believe make sense. if there is a step we can take that will save even one child from what happened in newtown. we should take that step. >> richard wolff, the nra is a very strange operation. they have said that video games are a big problem in promoting violence in this country. and yesterday, the nra released a free app that we'll put up on
the screen that allows people to practice shooting coffin-shaped targets in the head and in the heart. and they have rated it for ages 4 and up. so much for violent video games? >> yeah, well, of course they were going after the video game makers and tv movie makers, they don't realize that they're an easy target themselves. i do think quite seriously that outrage has not proved that effective against the nra, but satire and humor can actually be. because they're a joke, a sick joke, because they don't realize how they fall by their own pathetically low standards. >> there is a new poll out today. 67% support creating a federal data base to track gun sales. that is something the president may be able to do with executive orders. 55% support a ban on assault weapons. "the washington post" poll --
65% in favor of banning high-capacity ammunition magazines which is something i think is really important. and as you go through it they actually in that poll looked at households with a gun. and in households with a gun, it is 55% support banning the high-capacity clips. and 86% of households with a gun support background checks. 76% of them background checks on ammunition purchases. >> for starters, a couple of things here, you know there are not that many democrats to get you that far above 50%. so obviously, a lot of republicans in it. but the real reason the numbers are so high is because most people believe the background checking are already in place. they don't believe that in taking the positions they're supporting the change in the law. and that is where the nra is on incredibly weak ground. they have lulled people into the
sense that actually background checks exist. and that everything else will be a type of intrusion. but actually the limits are so low in terms of what is reasonable, people just don't know what the reality is. the nra is actually in a very weak position here. because if you just inform people about how weak the gun laws are, they go that is not my position. i thought it was already in place. >> richard wolff, thank you for joining us tonight. >> you bet. coming up, scott brown's political future. will he be smart enough to avoid losing the race in massachusetts by not running for the race again, that is in the re-write. and later, cory booker will be here to talk about his
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you'll have the knowledge to advance your career while making a difference in the lives of patients. let's get started at capella.edu. scott brown was one of the big losers of 2012, along with mitt romney, the question for scott brown is does he want to be the biggest loser of 2013? that is in the re-write. and later, newark mayor cory booker wants to announce his intention of running for the united states senator from new jersey. cory booker gets tonight's last word. in tonight's re-write, more pizza! [ garth ] olaf's small business earns 2% cash back on every purchase, every day! helium delivery. put it on my spark card! [ pop! ] [ garth ] why settle for less? great businesses deserve great rewards!
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in tonight's re-write, more rewriting of loser scott brown's political future. the massachusetts republicans were shocked when the same people of massachusetts voted for a public policy expert and harvard professor for senator, instead of this guy. in the election, voters made two massachusetts republicans the two biggest losers of the year. and no one was more shocked at being a loser than poor scott brown who ran a senate campaign who was worthy of the thugs in my boston neighborhood a generation ago. hey, you're not from around
here. that was brown's basic campaign message, which he thought was going to terrify oklahoma-born elizabeth warren the way it rightfully terrified people who wandered into the town, or shall we say the insuelar boston neighborhoods when i was a kid. >> i don't need professor warren speaking or commenting on my vote. >> can you imagine 100 professor warrens down there? >> oh, my god, did you hear that? scott brown called her professor. you could see he wanted to call her "four eyes," but he can't on tv. so he called her professor. so it turned out the guys on the bar schools who loved that, were like wicked out numbered by the thoughtful people of massachusetts who don't think that the word "professor" is an insult. scott brown is not a senator anymore, and everybody assumes he will run for senator again.
everybody except me. you should remember you heard it here first because last week i told you you heard it here first. and you heard it here first, which is to say you're hearing it right now. scott brown probably wouldn't even run against ed markey. scott brown would be much happier running for governor when duval patrick leaves office next year, a race scott brown has a much better chance of winning, and a job he would love, love, according to my sources, he doesn't really like it. political readers who missed last tuesday's edition are only five days behind on this story, because they ran this story, why scott brown might run for governor, not senate. politico reported why it could be easier for brown to win the governorship, he wouldn't be as tied to crazy republicans, it
will be an open seat this time. and winning the senate seat means you win it for a year, and then have to immediately run for re-election to a six-year term. politico didn't mention that. being a senator if well done is actually a lot more like being a professor than scott brown realizes than going to washington. there is like a crap load more of homework and tons of reading. and no, you don't have to absolutely do it. but if you don't do enough of the studying and stuff the other senators are going to talk rings around you in the closed door meetings, where they do the actual governor. and you will be sitting there like a freaking centerfold, listening to a much of professors. and i think scott brown doesn't like that feeling? >> can you imagine a bunch of elizabeth warrens down there.
>> conventional wisdom is hard to break. six hours and 30 minutes after they ran the breaking news piece that scott brown may not run for senate, politico ran this piece, the candidates for john kerry's seat, see big money. and that piece calls it a brown versus markey race. congressman ed markey announced his intention to run. and it is widely believed that scott brown who lost to elizabeth warren in november will make another run for the seat. not a word in this "politico" piece in the earlier story about brown maybe not running for the senate. but in the first article, the one about brown maybe not running for the senate, there are words for brown, about how he would campaign against ed markey. and yes, it would be another hey, you are not from around here campaign.
on a boston radio show recently, scott brown thought he blew away ed markey with this. >> now you got ed markey, does he still live here? >> oh, my, god. please, please, please, scott brown, please run for senate again. and try that attack on ed markey. please, ed markey, son of a milkman, and he did a pretty good job on his homework, good enough to get him into boston college. and then boston college law school. that is how far from maulden eddy was willing to go for college and law school. and eddy has done so good a job representing his hometown and his district that republicans can't even sometimes find candidates to run against him. so scott brown, i got some news for you. ya, ed markey still lives here. and he is like so from around here that you would have to debate him on policy, if you
screw up the -- you know, courage, to run against him. and debating ed markey on policy would be like debating a freaking professor. and you know how that goes. my intention is to run for united states senate, but it is still at the preliminary stages. i'm going to let things happen that should happen. the focus right now, frankly for all of new jersey should be the two senators supporting them in the fiscal cliff negotiation sandy relief debt ceiling. we should be supporting frank lautenberg, and bob menendez, and me, i have a job to do here in new york. >> and in the latest poll, 42% of the voters say they would vote for cory booker, 20% would into a scooter that talks to the cloud? ♪ or turn 30-million artifacts... ♪
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my intention is to run for united states senate, but it is still at the preliminary stages. i'm going to let things happen that should happen. the focus right now, frankly for all of new jersey should be the two senators supporting them in the fiscal cliff negotiation sandy relief debt ceiling. we should be supporting frank lautenberg, and bob menendez, and me, i have a job to do here in new york. >> and in the latest poll, 42% of the voters say they would vote for cory booker, 20% would vote for current senator frank lautenberg. and 60% of all new jersey voters polled have a favorable view of booker, compared to 5% who have a favorable view of lautenberg.
and he is here, cory booker. first of all, mayor, i have to thank you for getting me here tonight. i was scheduled on a flight to jfk. they had mechanical difficulties, i went across the airport, went to a place called newark, new jersey, which it turns out has an airport with lights and everything. and you can land at night in new jersey. who knew? did you do that? >> i had nothing to do with that. but i appreciate you -- putting praise on one of america's greatest cities. >> and it was so much faster getting there -- >> look, one of the businesses, jobs, discovering newark, new jersey, suddenly people are waking up to the discovery, hey, it is 12 miles from manhattan, what better place to have distribution for businesses, we're really benefitting from that, in creating jobs.
>> and you're running for new jersey senator, the big but in that, is the incumbent, served well. i don't think you have any differences, his staff is taking anonymous shots saying you're not being respectful to the incumbent senator, what are you doing making announcements involving the word "senate." >> yeah, and i apologize, off camera i thought we were going to talk about guns. >> and we'll do that. >> and this is not an issue, in order to stay in compliance with federal issues, i can't go down to meet with people from the mayoral account. i have to file something. this is 18 months away. it is a long time. all of new jersey, we should not be talking about senate races. we have two good senators doing a great job for us. fighting the good fight on critical issues from guns, to sandy aid, things that new
jersey needs. we don't need a distraction on the senate race that is not even in the election year. i'm focusing on my job, and due diligence for the future. right now i have to serve the residents, that is really the pressing issue. >> so you will make for frank lautenberg to make a decision before you make your final decision on running. >> i imagine me, frank lautenberg, a number of great democrats that will run for senator, will do what we should be doing, supporting senator lautenberg and senator menendez, and fighting hard to support the legislature and elect a new governor. all of that takes place between now and november. >> so this chair is available to you as soon as you can say my intention has now become absolutely definite, and i'm running for senator. >> no, i appreciate that.
but really, senator lautenberg has been my senator for a very long time. and a guy that has fought really good fights. this is a guy that has fought and scored victories for the country. in fact, the airplane you flew on, he is the one that passed legislation saying you can't light up and smoke on that airplane. this is a guy, you want to give him strength right now, because there are tough battles for democratic senators. he is a lion, people say he is 89 years old, but anybody who knows frank lautenberg there is a lot of fight. >> there is certainly a lot of fight. so one of the things he has been great on, is a subject we need to talk about right now. and that is gun control, ammunition control. he has been great throughout his career on this subject. what do you think the senate
needs to do? what do you think the president has to get behind now? >> so again, i see this from a perspective, the tragic incidents in connecticut. but you know this, in places all over america, over 30 people are dying, it doesn't seem to make the headlines, over 30 people in newark shot, doesn't make the headlines. >> something like over 800 killed by gun violence since newtown. what we see in new york, law abiding citizens are not causing the crime. it is that criminals can so easily get their hands on the guns. you agree with the majority of gun owners, that believe that there should be restrictions and if we just did what all americans, the majority of americans agree on we can actually make cities safer, the best data that i have on this, when you close down the